A whole house solar generator is a tall order - it needs to store enough energy and supply enough wattage to power multiple AC appliances at a time, while keeping your electronics running indefinitely.
Exactly how much you spend on a home backup solar generator will depend primarily on its energy storage capacity, peak power rating, and battery chemistry - and whether you want to tie it to your grid or use it as a standalone/off-grid generator.
These decisions, in turn, will completely depend on the appliances you want to run and for how long you want to run them.
In this guide, we discuss the cost of a range of whole house solar generator options, from 2,000 watt to 5,000W+ systems. We also discuss the price of extra components you may need such as solar panels and extra battery packs.
But first, let’s be clear on what we mean by a ‘whole house solar generator’.
What Is A Whole House Solar Generator?
One of the most common questions people ask us about solar generators is whether a solar generator can power an entire house.
By that, they mean EVERYTHING - the HVAC system, oven, hair dryers, power tools, washer/dryer, et al.
The answer is that in general, no, most solar generators sold today cannot power everything in the average American house. Especially not high-wattage/220V appliances like electric ovens, HVAC systems, and washer/dryer units.
That’s not to say they aren’t up to the task of running MOST of your home appliances including the lights, refrigerator, most 115V appliances, electronics, and WiFi.
Solar generators have come a long way in the past few years.
Today’s units pack far higher-capacity batteries, cost much less per kilowatt-hour, and have gotten more powerful. They are more reliable and safer to use, as well. And there are many models designed for all sorts of specific applications from grid-tied home backup systems, to complete systems for off-grid cabins, RVs and boats.
The biggest limitation of most home solar generators is the maximum power rating in Watts.
The average American home uses several 220V appliances that consume a lot of power. In addition, some appliances like air conditioners require brief periods of burst power to operate.
You’ll have the fridge running, the AC on, you’ll be watching TV, and occasionally microwave a snack or make a pot of coffee. Plus running the air conditioner, pool pump, and maybe your washing machine.
Combine all these and you need 1,000s of watts to power everything at once.
Unfortunately, most solar generators sold today only provide up to 2,000 to 3,500 watts.
There are a few exceptions, but these tend to be very expensive and designed for grid-tied use.
So when we talk about a whole house solar generator, we are mostly referring to solar generators that can provide backup power to use most 115V appliances in the house, power your lights, and keep most of your electronics running for days.
Many solar generators can nevertheless be integrated into the home grid to power your home’s circuit panel and outlets, if you’d like. Just keep in mind that your 220V appliances will probably discharge the system very quickly.
Tip: If you want to power everything in your home with solar, a home solar system is the best option.
How Much Does A Home Backup Solar Generator Cost?
A home backup solar generator capable of powering most appliances, keeping your LED lights on, and keeping your electronics charged and running will cost between $2,000 and $10,000 depending on capacity, power rating, and included accessories.
Let’s look at how these choices will impact how much you’ll spend.Note: In this guide we mention watts (W), watt-hours (Wh) and other basic electrical terms. If you are not familiar with them, first read our beginner guide that explains solar power basics
A good whole house solar generator should have a high-capacity battery that can power electronics for many hours and run 115V appliances in bursts.
For example, your refrigerator only needs max power when running its compressor, so it doesn’t pull as much energy as you might think.
For most homes we recommend buying a home solar generator with a minimum energy capacity of 2,000Wh (2kWh).
A basic home 2kWh solar generator will cost you between $1,600 and $2,000. You could probably power a couple of appliances, keep lights on and recharge devices with a 2kWh solar generator.
Our favorite 2kWh solar generator is the BLUETTI AC200P - or upgrade to the AC200MAX, which can be extended by adding additional power packs.
Want to power more appliances or increase battery life? Get a 3,000Wh (3kWh) solar generator. One of the best sold today is the EF ECOFLOW DELTA Pro which provides up to 3.6kWh of energy. Expect to pay between $3,000 and $4,000.
There are bigger power stations that can power a significant chunk of your home. Good examples include the 6kWh Goal Zero Yeti 6000X, the 4.8kWh Renogy Lycan 5000, and the 5.1kWh BLUETTI EP500. Expect to pay $5,000-$8,000 depending on accessories, grid-tie equipment, and solar panel choices.
Pre-configured solar generators that can store more than 6kWh of energy are expensive and relatively new. We recommend purchasing an expandable power station from Bluetti or Ecoflow.
Expansion batteries cost $1,000-$2,000 for each additional 2kWh or 3kWh battery pack - on top of the cost of a base power station. Some high-capacity systems you can buy online include the Bluetti AC300 + two B300 batteries kit (6.1kWh), the EF ECOFLOW Delta Pro 10.8kWh kit, and the 10.8kWh Goal Zero 6000X kit.
If you need more than 10kWh of backup capacity, then your best option is to purchase a pre-engineered solar power kit from a reputable dealer like ShopSolarKits.com. They offer dozens of pre-tested and engineered systems suitable for a wide range of off-grid and grid-tied applications.
A complete solar power kit for whole home use with batteries, inverter, battery charge controller, safety breakers, grid-tie equipment, installation accessories, and solar panels will cost between $8,000 and $30,000 depending mostly on capacity and peak power rating.
The other factor that affects the cost of a whole house solar generator is the size, or peak power rating, of the inverter.
To power multiple appliances and electronics in your home, we recommend a minimum 2,000W (2kW) solar generator. Most 2,000W solar generators start at around $1,600 and the price goes up with capacity.
For example, a 2,000W solar generator with a 3kWh battery will cost about $3,000.
Because these solar generators also come with huge batteries, they typically cost between $3,000 and $8,000.
As you can see, the limited power output is the biggest reason you cannot power your entire home with most off-the-shelf solar generators sold today.
While you can increase solar generator capacity to 10kWh or more with extra batteries, power output even for large solar generators usually tops out at 3,000W.
The 3,500W Renogy and 3,500W ECOFLOW power stations are the rare exceptions. And even then, this is not enough power to run all your appliances.
If you need more than 3,000 watts of peak power, then you’ll need to invest in a solar power kit from a dealer like ShopSolarKits.com. Or purchase a home solar power system from a installer.
Type of Battery
There are two types of batteries commonly used in whole house solar generators today, traditional lithium-ion (Li) and lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4). Lead acid batteries are also used in DIY generators and in some solar kits.
LiFePO4 batteries are more expensive and heavier than Li batteries, but they cost less over the long term because they last 5-10X longer. All LiFePO4 batteries can safely discharge to 80-90%, too, which means you may need to purchase fewer batteries.
The long life makes LiFePO4 batteries the right choice for any solar power application that will be repeatedly charged and discharged like an off-grid cabin, RV, or boat.
Bluetti is one of the few brands that uses LiFePO4 batteries in most of their power stations. We are big fans of Bluetti’s products here, with few exceptions.
If you need a lighter portable solar generator to power your home during blackouts and/or plan to use it infrequently, then buying a solar generator with standard lithium ion batteries may be a better choice. It will cost less upfront, too.
When buying a standard Li battery power station, make sure you check the maximum discharge rating - some inexpensive and older Li batteries can only provide up to 50% of their rated energy capacity. Most modern batteries can be safely discharged 80%, however.
Lead acid batteries are the least expensive power storage for any battery-powered generator.
But these days it’s hard to find a lead acid solar generator, especially one big enough to power multiple appliances in your home.
This is because lead acid batteries are very heavy, present unique safety issues, cannot discharge more than 50% (so you need to buy more), and lose voltage as they discharge.
When budgeting for a whole house solar generator, remember to add the cost of any accessories you might need to complete your setup.
The most common addition is solar panels.
These come in handy during a power blackout when you cannot recharge the solar generator from the outlet.
A 200W solar panel costs between $150 and $250. If you want a flexible or foldable solar panel, expect to pay about $300.
Calculate how many 200W solar panels you need to recharge your solar generator in a day, to see how much in total you’ll spend on solar panels.
If you don't have much space to spread out multiple 200W solar panels, get high-output 350W panels. A single rigid panel costs between $300 and $400.
Other extras include:
Is A Whole House Solar Generator Worth It?
It depends on your needs.
If you just want to backup a few appliances, power the lights, and recharge your phone and other gadgets, then a whole house solar generator is worth it.
It’s FAR less expensive than setting up a home solar system with roof mounted panels, a battery bank, miles of wiring and so on. And don't forget the cost of hiring an electrician to install it.
A whole house solar generator is also a good choice for a small home with lower than average power needs. For instance, an off-grid cabin, an RV, or a tiny home.
You can power most of your appliances with a solar generator with the exception of high-wattage systems like a water heater, oven, washer/dryer, and your central AC.